Thursday, October 4, 2012



Teresita Fernández’s exhibition at Lehmann Maupin is named after the 19th century tactile military code “Night Writing” - the predecessor of Braille enabling soldiers to communicate quietly at night. This exhibition continues her long-lasting interest in perception and nature, while initiating an exploration of the boundless possibilities of language - something that never fails to transform itself and create opportunities for communication, even in complete darkness and silence. A large-scale installation, made of hundreds of color polycarbonate tubes hanging in the middle of a two-story space, probably representing a sunset sky, it entices the viewer to look up once entering into the gallery. Also on view are a series of perforated prints, varying in size and composition while sharing a common subject matter of the night sky.  A narrow palette of black, purplish red and white is adopted throughout the prints and the installation, adding a sense of cohesion to the exhibition.

The group of prints, appearing somewhat repetitive at the first sight, reveal a greater depth of meaning upon closer examination. Each work is perforated with mysterious patterns of dots - the Braille translation of its title - spreading all over the composition. Representing Braille letters, these tiny holes exemplify a way of communicating without visual or auditory sense, a language to be “heard” through finger tips. While from the visual aspect, these white dots arranged against images of night sky are reminiscent of constellations, a “language” seen in nature through which much can be understood by human beings. As written by Fernández in her book, “Like a vast billboard, the night sky has always been read and scanned for revelation, direction and guidance.” 


  1. Hi Meng!
    Your review has some good insights into this show. I have to say, I entirely missed that the dots on the prints were braille when we saw the show as a class.
    That said, the link with language could use some unpacking. How is braille a "new sphere of language"? How can we link that with the "universal experience" you claim the show is aiming for?
    I also have an issue, as we discussed in class, with the identification of the tube installation as a sunset. I'm not sure you can say definitively that the artist intended that, especially given the aesthetic links to the aurora borealis.
    Perhaps having formal analysis earlier in the review would help clarify some of these points.

  2. I enjoyed this show, too, and I think you've created a nice review for it. You do a good job of describing the aesthetic of the work as well as the artist's intention. I agree with Diana that the connection between braille as an unspoken human language, and constellations as a "language of the universe" is a little hard to grasp. I think you're on the right track though- I'm excited by the idea of being able to "read" the constellations of the night sky, as represented by braille. Perhaps it would work better to set it up as a simile instead of ascribing the Universe it's own language.
    I associated the tube installation with a sunset, but my interpretation may have been influenced by reading about the piece while at the exhibit. If I'm remembering correctly that there is a piece of writing identifying it as a depiction of sunset at the exhibit, I think it's reasonable to describe it as such in your review.